UP: Aadhaar linkage for mass marriages

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to link the details of the newly-wed couples with DBT and Aadhaar to prevent any repeat of the fraud committed in Ballia in the Chief Minister’s Mass Marriage Scheme in which 240 ineligible people enrolled themselves to derive benefits, state Social Welfare Minister Asim Arun said on Sunday. The government will give marriage certificates to couples on the spot in the programme to stop the repeat of the fraud, he said.

“Marriage certificate will be given on the spot itself. The photo of the bride and groom will be on it. We will do the Aadhaar authentication of the girl. But, we should do a check on the spot to see if any other girl has come (in her place). We will make a mechanism in two weeks by linking with the DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) and Aadhaar,” Arun told reporters here.

He said, “I may have have taken off my uniform, but I have brought a stick.”

Arun was a 1994 batch IPS officer of UP cadre. He resigned from the services in January 2022 and contested the assembly elections later the same year. He won from Kannauj Sadar seat which was considered to be a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party.

The minister’s remarks assume significance in the context of the fraud that took place in the mass marriage ceremony held on January 25 in Maniyar of Ballia district.

Meanwhile, the police on Sunday arrested a person in connection with the case of fraud in the Mukhyamantri Samoohik Vivaah Yojana. With this arrest, the total number of people arrested in this case stands at 16.

Arun said, “For two days in Lucknow we discussed how the system can be further strengthened… The way in which it (referring to the fraud) has been attempted here (in Ballia) will not be repeated in future.”

The minister further said, “This kind of misuse was never seen before. Since we have faced such a challenge, our system is very strong. We will make such a strong system within two weeks that even if someone has any evil intention to do anything wrong, our system should be strong enough to check it.”

He said a complaint was received in Ballia about 537 marriages having taken place with some couples having got married a few months ago. They are enrolling themselves (under the scheme) only to get financial benefits and in a wrong manner, he said.

“On this complaint, an inquiry committee was formed and the payment of Rs 35,000 was immediately stopped. Administrative action has been taken against the four officers found guilty in this case. Three of them were arrested. Along with this, the brokers who were involved in fraud and embezzlement (of funds) have also been arrested,” he said.

The UP minister also said, “The strictness of the chief minister against corruption is visible to the people here. No broker or officer who has tried to embezzle government funds will be spared. They will definitely be punished.”

He also said the insensitivity shown in Ballia, as seen in the video, is a gross negligence.

Arun said 240 persons were found ineligible in Ballia. Twenty teams were formed and were sent from door to door to investigate the matter. The items given as gift have almost come back (to the authorities).

Meanwhile, elaborating on Sunday’s arrest, the police in a statement said Ashish Chauhan alias Mithun of Gaighat village of Revati police station area has been arrested and sent to jail.

On the complaint of District Social Welfare Officer Deepak Srivastava, a case was registered at Maniyar police station on Tuesday against Assistant Development Officer of Social Welfare Department Sunil Kumar Yadav (who has been suspended) and eight beneficiaries – Archana, Ranjana Yadav and Suman Chauhan of Manikapur village; and Priyanka, Sonam, Pooja, Sanju and Ramita of Sultanpur village.

The case was registered under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, banker, merchant or agent), 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the IPC.

The beneficiaries have not been arrested so far.

Among the 15 arrested, the name of Assistant Development Officer Sunil Kumar Yadav is mentioned in the case registered and the names of 14 others have come to light during the investigation, District Magistrate of Ballia Ravindra Kumar had earlier said.

“Two assistant development officers – Sunil Kumar Yadav and Bhanu Pratap of the Social Welfare department – have been arrested along Ravindra Gupta, Alok Srivastav, Upendra Yadav, Deepak Chauhan, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Ramji Chauhan, Santosh Yadav, Arjun Verma, Ramnath, Acchelal Verma, Dharmendra Yadav, Gulab Yadav and Sarabjeet Singh of the Social Welfare department,” Ravindra Kumar had earlier said.

According to the police complaint, it came to the fore that brides and grooms, who were already married, were being married again in the mass marriage event.

A probe committee under the chief development officer was constituted in the matter on January 29.

It was found in the probe that some of the beneficiaries like Archana of Manikapur village was married in June 2023. Apart from this, Ranjana Yadav and Suman Chauhan got married in March 2023, Priyanka got married in November 2023, Pooja got married a year ago, Sanju got married three years ago and Ramita got married in July 2023. Sonam’s marriage is not decided yet.

All of them are not eligible under the Chief Minister’s Mass Marriage Scheme, the committee had said in its report.

Under this scheme, a payment of Rs 51,000 is made, of which Rs 35,000 goes to the bride; Rs 10,000 for purchasing matrimonial materials and Rs 6,000 for the event, according to the government website.

(You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel)

Related post